CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Industrial hemp is on the rise in West Virginia, almost doubling in growers each year. The Department of Agriculture believes this will be their largest year yet.
“A lot of people are interested in what CBD oil can do for them and that’s why you’re seeing a huge growth of the industrial hemp”, says West Virginia Department of Agriculture Crescent Gallagher.
Monday, September 30, 2019, was the final day to apply for the state’s industrial hemp program. Nearly 300 applicants applied to be hemp growers.
According to the department, the number of licensed hemp growers grew from 24 in 2017 to 178 in 2019. In 2020, they’re expecting nearly 300 applicants. With the expectation of passing background checks, most growers will be licensed.
“Anything to diversify our agriculture economy is good for the state. We believe hemp might be a crop we can tap into” says Gallagher.
A lot of industrial hemp is grown on unused farmland giving farmers a chance to expand their supply. The department says it’s something new people are interested in and farmers are learning what exactly they can do with the crop.